Sydney Internship Program Summer 2019 – A Dynamic And Reflective Journey


July 9, 2019

The Sydney Internship Program is a unique opportunity for highly motivated students to spend six weeks in one of the most beautiful, dynamic and diverse cities in the world. Sydney is busy, thriving city of more than 4,6 million people from different backgrounds and cultures with numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. It is also a popular destination for international students seeking educational and placement opportunities from around the globe, drawn by Australia’s numerous possibilities, its diversity, and world-class research facilities.

Our Sydney Internship Program Summer 2019 is drawing to an end, and as Arcadia’s Sydney team prepares to bid our wonderful students farewell, we reflect on our students’ personal and collective journeys and motivations. Our students have had busy weeks combining their studies with their placement and an exciting social life!

 Diversity of experiences

What makes Arcadia’s Sydney Internship Program unique in its scope? Our program offers an intensive program integrating academic, experiential and professional learning opportunities offering students immersion in Australia’s social, cultural and professional contexts. The key word here is : diversity. Each of our students will have a different experience depending on their motivation, placement context, duties involved and personal interests. This summer, some of our students worked with vibrant start-up companies collaborating in a shared space filled with creative brainstorming sessions, and some enjoyed the views of the city from the offices of prominent corporate firms nestled in the heart of Sydney CBD. Some students assisted upcoming NGOs to build their programs and offerings, playing a crucial role in developing and expanding their business networks. Others conducted important research on improving the health outcomes and access to services for marginalised people and promoted sustainable initiatives and business solutions.

Each placement experience offered different insights and personal discoveries, and presented an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and others. Our Summer 2019 interns have demonstrated resilience, professionalism and a wide range of transferable skills combined with an ability to think critically and adapt effectively to new situations. All of these concepts are crucial in the globalised, interconnected workplace highlighting interdisciplinary skills, cross-cultural competence, and creativity.

Professional and personal growth

Evaluating their placements during class discussions, our students reflected on their personal and professional growth over the past six weeks. They discussed the ways in which their placement expanded their horizons and allowed them to learn workplace ethics, teamwork skills and managing different supervisors and co-workers. Each task and experience allowed our students the opportunity to reflect on their professional futures and how the skills and research conducted during the internship can be applied in different contexts.  For example, some of our students revealed that the placement experiences inspired them to start their own businesses due to the first-hand exposure to the workings of small dynamic start-ups. Inspired by their placements, some students decided to follow a different career path after experiencing the exciting business side of creative and health industries. All in all, the variety of experiences and skills, along with professional networks acquired will remain with our students as they return home to tackle new challenges and adventures ahead.

Socially relevant research projects

Studying alongside their placement, our students have developed nuanced and informed research projects for their core internship course addressing key issues relevant to their chosen field and topic. These written projects are linked to student placements and their own personal interests and passions and aptly showcase their qualitative and quantitative research skills. Offering insight into the inspiring and important work done during their internships and beyond, these projects present valuable evidence of placement experiences. Moreover, the projects have the potential to develop into future initiatives, postgraduate research or facilitate global collaboration opportunities! Most importantly, our students’ projects all address important social and cultural issues aimed at creating a more equitable, sustainable and informed society.

For example, our students working in health and social justice settings developed projects on enhancing Aboriginal health and educational outcomes through trauma-informed methods based on Aboriginal knowledges and scholarship; and researched initiatives for providing employment opportunities for vulnerable people. Working with an Australian fashion label, our students also explored fashion, inclusion and ethics connected to the industry. Placed in a large corporate setting, our interns analysed social media and technologies as effective strategies of linking 21st century global workplaces and improving productivity. Students working in the areas of sustainability researched strategies and recommendations to improve sustainable waste reduction and management. Working with small NGOs and start-ups, our students explored the inner workings of public engagement and the challenges and rewards of creating meaningful change through socially relevant projects. The above research projects represent only a small segment of the diverse plethora of research ideas and discussions developed during our students’ time in Sydney.

Lifelong memories

Our motivated students engaged with their colleagues, workplaces, supervisors and Arcadia staff alongside Sydneysiders and created lifelong memories, professional networks and friendships. As we prepare to wish our students success and good luck in their future endeavors in our Goodbye Breakfast Event honoring our students and partners, we know our students will use the diverse skills acquired during their time with Arcadia in Sydney and continue to do great, important and inspiring work!